Politics

Senators And Officials Slam Trump Over Cybersecurity Partnership With Russia [VIDEO]

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Amber Athey White House Correspondent

A number of elected officials and former White House officials are angry that President Trump would ask Russia to form a cybersecurity alliance after Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

On Sunday morning, Trump indicated on Twitter that he and Russian president Vladimir Putin discussed forming an alliance to combat cyber attacks during their meeting at the G20 Summit on Friday.

The reaction on Sunday morning news shows was swift and overwhelmingly negative, with many expressing concerns about working with a state that has already conducted cyber attacks on American institutions.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the plan is “not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard but it’s pretty close.”

“When it comes to Russia he’s got a blind spot,” Graham said of Trump, “and to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyber attacks is to empower Putin.”

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John Brennan, the former director of the CIA, also said on MTP that Trump’s plan to work with Russia “indicates he doesn’t take the words of the intelligence agency.” A report by four agencies–the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and the Office of DNI–expressed “high confidence” that Russia is responsible for election meddling.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressman  Adam Schiff argued on CNN’s “State of the Union” that if working with Russia on cybersecurity is the United States’ best defense against attacks, then “we might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.”

“I don’t think we can expect the Russians to be any kind of a credible partner in some cybersecurity unit. I think that’s incredibly naive.”

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Some employed the use of metaphors to emphasize what they view as the absurdity of working together with Russia.

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, for example, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that working with Russia on cybersecurity is like “the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary.”

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Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ed Markey did not appear on any Sunday morning shows, but still threw out their best metaphors into the Twitter-sphere.

“Partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit,'” Rubio wrote.

Even Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, expressed some skepticism about working with Russia, explaining that “we can’t trust Russia.”

“You keep those that you don’t trust closer so that you can always keep an eye on them…and that’s what we’re trying to do right now,” she claimed of the alliance.

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In fact, the only two Sunday guests who seemed to endorse the plan were two members of Trump’s cabinet — Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“We’re not going to forgo progress simply because we have a disagreement,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mnuchin was most glowing in his praise of the alliance, calling it a “very significant accomplishment.”

“This is like any other strategic alliance…this is about having capabilities to make sure we fight cyber together,” he said.

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